Dallas Mavericks

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings' loss to Mavericks

justin-jackson-kings.jpg
USATSI

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Kings' loss to Mavericks

BOX SCORE

Summer League has not been kind to the Sacramento Kings. Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks took on a similar theme to the team’s first four games -- inconsistent play, injury and a late rally. In the end, the Mavericks were the better team, coming away with the 83-76 win and dropping Sacramento to 1-4 for the tournament.

-- Justin Jackson is amazing...every other game. The UNC product has been all over the board through five summer league games. Against the Mavs, the good Jackson showed up. In 35 minutes of action, the 22-year-old wing dropped in 25 points on 9-of-19 shooting and added four assists, four rebounds and two steals. He’s going to earn minutes early in his career.

-- DeAaron Fox vs. Dennis Smith Jr. is going to be a fun matchup for years to come. Fox was limited due to ankle stiffness, playing just seven minutes for the Kings before coach Jason March pulled the plug. He had a front row view to Smith’s 25-point, seven-rebound, two-assist, three-steal performance. Smith’s talent has never been in question, but an ACL tear in high school and questions about his maturity caused him to fall to the ninth pick. He’ll make more than one team regret passing on him.  

-- Like Jackson, Skal Labissiere has had a Jekyll and Hyde week in Vegas. In the grand scheme of things, Summer League means very little. No one will remember a 1-for-7 shooting performance once the regular season begins. Labissiere had to be hoping for more than 9.6 points and 5.0 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game, though. He'll learn from the experience.

-- Luis Montero, Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson have done enough to earn a training camp invite somewhere. Montero filled in for Hield and chipped in 13 points and nine rebounds. Cooley scored 10 points in 11 minutes and Sampson brought energy, along with eight points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 20 minutes off the bench.

-- Georgios Papagiannis just turned 20 years old. It’s a fact that escapes plenty of basketball talking heads. The 7-foot-1 big has worked tirelessly on his body, but he is still at least a year or more away from stepping in and playing rotational minutes at the NBA level. He needs to get stronger and the speed of the game is still an issue. He has skills, but making any judgments on who he’ll be as a player after 22 regular season games and a handful of Summer League contests is probably too early.

Ex-Warriors F Barnes reveals whether he's watching 2017 Finals or not

Ex-Warriors F Barnes reveals whether he's watching 2017 Finals or not

The last two seasons, Harrison Barnes was participating in the NBA Finals.

This year, his offseason began when the 33-49 Dallas Mavericks' season ended on April 12.

So, has Barnes been watching his former team as they take on the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals for a third straight season?

No.

Barnes spoke to the media at his basketball camp in Dallas on Saturday and said he has not tuned in for any of the games, according to Mavs.com reporter Dwain Price.

But Barnes is getting updates from one of the Mavericks coaches.

"[Player Development coach God] Shammgod keeps me up to date on what's going on. So I get a colorful play-by-play," Barnes told Price.

After four seasons in Oakland, Barnes played in 79 games in his first season with the Mavericks and averaged a career-high 19.2 points and grabbed 5.0 rebounds per game.

The Warriors lead the Cavs 3-1 in the 2017 NBA Finals and will look to win their second title in three years in Game 5 on Monday night.

Mark Cuban admits Mavs tanked, Adam Silver has some explaining to do

Mark Cuban admits Mavs tanked, Adam Silver has some explaining to do

In the olden days when the Mafia was at its zenith, the worst thing a made guy could do was talk out of school. They took an oath of silence, and anyone who yapped got capped.

Pretty simple rule, all things considered.

Those days are done, though. Bosses, or in our example sports owners, can’t wait to tell us about themselves and what they do and how they make the sausage that they pass off to you as breakfast.

The latest example of this is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban telling Dan Patrick that the Mavs tanked games like fiends in 2017, going so far as to explain the already well-known machinery of the tank.

This is news in the way that the Donald Trump/James Comey memo is news – you already knew it, but seeing the admission and/or the paperwork somehow makes it worse.

At least it does to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who heard the interview and then spent much of the afternoon trying to figure out how to strangle Cuban over the phone.

But that’s his problem. He makes the big money putting up with 30 mega-narcissists who can’t help spilling secrets when their egos get involved – which is always.

And now Silver gets to explain to a skeptical public how maybe 10 to 15 percent of his league’s 1230-game inventory is not on the competitive up-and-up for quantifiable business and qualitative health reasons.

Understand this is not a plea for sympathy for Silver. He’s known these maniacs for decades, and he’s seen the change in franchises’ opinions toward the regular season for years. None of this is new to him, and he has no solution for any of it save the threat of relegation to the G-League, which has less chance of happening than America respecting its politicians ever again.

Still, to have Cuban blurt it out so cheerfully and brazenly, while refreshingly honest, is a bit of a jar to the sensibilities. He knows no lawsuit against him will ever fail because the batteries-not-included print on his team’s tickets don’t promise anything but an athletic contest. On that minimal standard, he is correct, and anyone who knows anything about the modern definition of customer service knows that the minimum is all you’re getting, and that’s only if you’ve kept the receipt and know the store manager.

Cuban is banking, and probably correctly, that fans hearing the news that what they already believe – that tanking is not only plentiful but an actual strategy – is actually true works to the advantage of the owners and the business. It’s the intoxicating peek inside the abattoir that appeals to the avid fan, and his or her need to feel in on the scam while being scammed.

Hey, it’s a psychology thing.

Cuban’s view, in fact, is probably closer to league orthodoxy than Silver is comfortable with, given that the draft lottery is the very telegenic by-product of tanking. The league has monetized the strategy of not giving it your all, and the Philadelphia 76ers its very embodiment.

Now tanking actually isn’t an effective strategy most of the time because there just aren’t enough generational players to go around. It is, however, the only sensible alternative to just being the Sacramento Kings, and Silver understands that part clearly.

So Mark Cuban showed us how the sawing-the-assistant-in-half trick works because that’s what he does. Adam Silver will fine him, nothing will change, and next year regular season venues will be littered with parachutes from teams bailing on their traditional customer responsibilities.

In other words, Cuban just told us in his best Lee Strasburg voice, “This . . . is the business . . . we’ve chosen.”